White People to Stop Voicing Minority Characters in ‘The Simpsons,’ ‘Family Guy’

Brenda Watkins
June 29, 2020

Animated show "The Simpsons" is ending the use of white actors to voice characters of colour, producers said on Friday. The character even had his own spin-off series, "The Cleveland Show", that aired on FOX from 2009 to 2013.

An actor on the animated show Family Guy also announced on Friday that he was stepping down from voicing a black character.

The move follows years of public pressure about the show's Indian character Apu, who was voiced by Hank Azaria. Azaria left the show earlier this year after voicing that character (and many others) for the past 31 years and now the show will look to replace other character's voices with more race appropriate actors as well.

Casting shake up coming to The Simpsons as the producers announce non-white characters will no longer play characters of colour.

For now, it remains to be confirmed which historian will take over the former member of Los Borbotones, as well as the distinct characters of color who until now had the voice of a white actor.

White actor Mike Henry will no longer voice black character Cleveland Brown on Family Guy.

Family Guy: Cleveland Voice Actor Mike Henry Steps Down From Role
But since Family Guy isn't going anywhere anytime soon, the role will be a good opportunity for whoever gets the part. The 54-year-old voice actor, who is a white man, has voiced the character since the series' debut in 1999.

Posting on Twitter, Henry wrote that it had "been an honour" to play the character for two decades but that "persons of colour should play characters of colour". "We all feel like it's the right thing and good about it".

"All we know there is I won't be doing the voice anymore, unless there's some way to transition it or something", Azaria said, according to /Film, an industry news blog that reported it had asked the actor about the matter after a discussion panel.

Apu, an Indian character in "The Simpsons", has been the source of controversy for years over its racial stereotyping. Most notably, Apu Nahasapeemapetilon, who was voiced by Hank Azaria. The Hollywood Reporter has reached out to reps for Family Guy creator Seth MacFarlane.

Jenny Slate said she initially thought it was okay to voice Missy, a mixed race character, on "Big Mouth".

The issue was thrown into the spotlight in 2017, when comedian Hari Kondabolu made the documentary The Problem with Apu, and has become increasingly sensitive as the portrayal of non-white characters on TV comes under renewed scrutiny. He's also written for the show and co-created and starred in spinoff The Cleveland Show, which ran for four seasons.

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